WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump ordered military aircraft to fly above the nation’s capital on Monday night as a “show of force” against demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd, according to two Defense Department officials.
Show-of-force missions are designed to intimidate and, in combat zones, warn opposing forces of potential military actions if provoked. The officials, who insisted on anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing operations publicly, did not say how many or what type of aircraft had been mobilized.
Videos and photographs posted on social media showed helicopters flying low over buildings and hovering just above groups of people on the street who were outside despite a district-wide curfew.
On Tuesday, roughly 700 members of the 82nd had arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and Fort Belvoir in Virginia. In addition, 1,400 more soldiers are ready to be mobilized within an hour, according to the two Defense Department officials. The soldiers are armed and have riot gear. They also have bayonets.